Trivandrum: While a picture speaks a thousand words, the ‘Une Ville, Un Lieu, Une Personne’ (One City, One Place, One Person) photography –poetry exhibition speaks the thousand-and-first word hidden in each photograph which reveals the rhythm of Pondicherry, the Indian city which still preserves the traces of its French past, in a typical environment.
The 28 tryptiques – sets of three photographs - clicked by French photographer Pascal Bernard have been poetically explained by the beautiful verses of Indian poet Anupama Raju. Each tryptique has pictures of the person, the place in the city where he/she belongs and the city.
“The photograph and the poem connect the individual with his or her city. The location where the individual stands is his or her favorite spot in their hometown. Through my poems I have tried to discover the emotions beyond the photographic frame,” explained Anupama Raju.
The project is a part of the joint residency programme conducted by the Alliance Française de Pondicherry and Le Centre Intermondes, La Rochelle, France.
Most of the photos here are taken on film in the old fashioned way and processed manually by Pascal. Each set of these photographs are flavoured with short poems in English with its French translation and are endearingly titled with a word or phrase in Tamil. Thus these pictures and verses bring together the three languages that are commonly used in Pondicherry.
“The idea generated during the joint residency programme in August 2011 between Pascal and me. We walked around the streets of Pondicherry and thus the images and words formed. This is the outcome of the artistic exchange between visuals and words- a poet and a photographer,” beamed Anupama.
The set of images include portraits of Philomene, a coconut seller and Iyappan, a man who irons clothes for a living. The words that unravel the beauty of these personalities that make the city what it is go like this,
“Unlike Babel, these are lucid
against the wind blowing in French, Tamil, English
Our Prayer whispered in different tongues…”